Sunday, May 9, 2010

Just in time for Mother's Day!

Our sweet Sophia Grace was born this past Thursday, May 6th at 1:20 am. She weighs 6 pounds 11ounces (3.05 kilos) and measures 19.1 inches (48.5 cm). Sophia arrived just in time for Mother's Day! What a wonderful gift!

Overall, it was a good birth experience and I was able to have Sophia with a normal delivery- not a cesearean. We are esspecially thankful for this! My doctor was amazing and I appreciated his willingness to try to do everything possible to avoid a cesearean. He really respected and honored us as parents, and in the end my body did great and no cesearean was needed! This was a BIG answer to prayer. I praise God for His presense with me during every phase of the delivery.

Just after birth, Sophia is getting cleaned up to come back to mommy.
Almost ready... First going to get bundled up!
Moments after giving birth, my first time holding Sophia...
God has blessed me with a beautiful daughter and an incredible husband as well. I have to say that Felipe did a wonderful job supporting me during the whole birth experience and is so sweet with Sophia. She is going to be a daddy's girl...
After just a day and a half in the hospital, we were released. We came home on Friday and are adjusting to life with a new born, learning and enjoying our first moments together.
We have been doing video calls with my family to introduce Sophia to her American family and also Felipe's mom and sister have come to visit us several times now, so Sophia has gotten to meet her Brazilian family too!

All of our YWAM friends were also SUPER excited about seeing Sophia. When we arrived at the Lighthouse a group of friends came rushing over to see her. We were welcomed home with much love, gifts and cards. Even though we are far from family and friends in the USA, we have the support of many here in Brazil. Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and who sent us loving messages of encouragement and congratulations. We are feeling SO supported and loved!
The gift of new life is so sweet and we are enjoying these first moments of being a family of three.
Wishing all you mothers a very Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Extreme Home Makeover!

Well, Almost....
We did not have an EXTREME home makeover -to the extreme like the popular TV show, BUT we did have some construction work recently done on our cozy, little round house. We just finished about a 2 month process of construction work, repairs, and painting.
During this construction time, Felipe and I were living in a bedroom in the Lighthouse's main living quarters. We are thankful to be back in our little home, where we can enjoy time together sitting on our sofa talking or making a meal in our kitchen. It really is the simple things that bring joy! We are thankful to be home...
This post is for all the men out there (esspecially my dad) who are curious about how construction and building takes place here in Brazil. It seems SO different than the US. The materials and methods of construction are different, as we are living in a different culture, climate and context. The men who worked on our little house did a good job. They are from the slum and work extremely hard!

THE PROBLEM
We live in a small round house on the Lighthouse Community Center grounds. The house was supported by wooden columns circling all the way around the house. The wooden columns were quite old and the wood was actually beginning to rot and decay. Many holes were forming in the old wood and friendly spiders, bugs, and lizards were making their homes there.
So, we made a plan to take out each column, one by one, ultimatley replacing the wooden columns with cement columns. We needed to do this to provide adequate support for the walls and roof of the house.

The first step was removing the columns... We think that about 7 columns were removed in all. We had many holes in our home!
Rebuilding the columns. First, an iron column mold was created and then the men filled in the area with cement.
Once the cement was put in, often the men would place boards over the area for extra support, while the cement was hardening a bit.
A view from the inside...
The finished PRODUCT! This is after the cement has been smoothed and a good paint job.
It turned out pretty nice!
Here is another BEFORE shot, by another window in our living room...
And AFTER...
PAINTING
Felipe was trying to create the PERFECT green color... so we mixed in a little brown to make it a little more like we wanted.
A team member and friend helping us paint our home. He did a great job!
We are VERY thankful for the maintenance offerings that the Lighthouse Community Center received and also some offerings that Felipe and I received - which helped to make it possible to make these necessary repairs... We were able to get everything done just in time, before the birth of our daughter!

THE GRAND TOUR!
Here is the GRAND tour of our cozy, little round house!

Because our home is ROUND, each room is also a strange shape, with many angles. The only square area in the house is the hallway in the middle! I attempted to take some photos, but because of the smallness and strangeness of the shape of our home, it very difficult to take a decent photo. I could only capture a glimpse of each room - but you can get an idea at least.

Our Porch / A Veranda
This is one of my favorites spots and it has an amazingly beautiful view of the slum.
We often eat at a little table on our veranda or lay in our hammock and talk. We are thankful for this extended area of our home.
The Kitchen / A Cozinha
This is the view from the front door walking into our kitchen. You can see Sophia's room in the distance.
The Baby Room / O Quarto do Bebe
In the doorway of Sophia's room.
This used to be me and Felipe's bedroom and it literally was a BED ROOM. Only our bed could fit in this tiny area.
Another shot of Sophia's room from a different angle.
Our new bedroom! Nosso quarto novo!
While in the USA, some construction was done to make the room below larger. Before, this room was actually two closet areas. Half of the room was a large storage area for all the cleaning materials of the Lighthouse Ministry and the other half was a little room/closet that we used for storage. We tore down the dividing walls and joined the two closets to make a bedroom for us -thus allowing our old bedroom to be the baby room.

In our new bedroom we can actually fit our bed, a little bedside stand and a wardrobe! This is a BIG improvement for us and we are thankful!
The Hallway / O Corridor
Coming out of our bedroom, our hallway to the living room. Sophia's room is the doorway on the left.
The Living Room / A Sala
Our cozy living room area!
A view from the other side of the room!
We do have a bathroom, but it is SO small it is difficult to take a good photo... ;)

So that is the end of the GRAND tour of our home!
We live simply and we are SO grateful for all that God has provided. He is meeting our needs and has blessed us with our little round house as we start our family.

We are thankful!